Haynes kicked off the session by awarding Chuck a nice hand-picked bottle of Italian wine in honor of his 4-0 record in season openers. Tony also joked that Amato always came to the first session since he knew it would follow a W and he wouldn't have to face the tough questions that often arise at Coaches Corner. Chuck sprinkled all of his answers with his usual self-deprecating humor, including a comment about liking "one, or two, or 3 glasses of wine from time to time." After that, they got down to business.
Haynes asked about
injuries, and Amato said we had no "game loss injuries" meaning several nicks
and scrapes, but nobody would miss a game because of it. Later, somebody asked
about Colmer, and Amato revealed he was flying to NYC today to see a specialist
in this ailment with NFL experience. He also reiterated the somewhat mysterious
nature of Colmer's numbness, but said our medical staff had been on top of it
from the get-go.
Chuck commented on the WCU game by saying our OL did
really well, when you consider that only Jed Paulsen was playing the same
position as last year.
As to our DL, he said they didn't play as bad as
he originally made it sound, particularly when he realized the "max protection"
that was generally used on every passing play. His problem with them was they
"didn't fight", signified by the late 2nd quarter TD following TA's fumble.
"That's why you play D, to stop the other team when you really need to. And then
we had ‘em on 4th down, and we should have tackled their guy for a loss, but he
outfought us, several of our players, and got the first down."
then revealed the timing couldn't have been worse for the D, since they were
headed to the locker room immediately after that TD, where they were treated to
a scene. Chuck said that the "other coaches hadn't ever seen me like that." Must
have been some halftime talk since we've heard about his famous "motivational"
halftime speeches before. Remember Levar Fisher's statements about Chuck's
halftime speech during the MicronPC.com Bowl in 2000.
about lessons the young DL learned in the game and he said, "Yeah, that they
should be redshirting! They realized you can't get away with your old high
school tactics in college, just like you've got to do even more at the next
level. It's all about technique – you've got to play low and use leverage."
Chuck & Tony took it upon themselves to talk about Tramain Hall.
Chuck made a very important point, and the one that makes Tramain so endeared to
the Wolfpack Nation. "If he never catches a pass, or scores a touchdown, he has
made his presence known by what he did. People forget he could have stayed in
high school, and gone to Miami, and he'd have a National Championship ring right
now. When he had to go off to Los Angeles, and then couldn't play last year, and
people started recruiting him again … he could have gone to Ohio State, … and
he'd have a ring from there. But he wanted to come to Raleigh. And he cried in
the locker room before the first game last year because he wanted to play so
bad. But I told him the time would go by fast, and it has. And he has never
wavered, and his parents have been with us the whole way. And that's the past
now, and here we are."
Chuck admitted the first play had been drawn up
since before fall practice started. He cracked that the tears in Tramain's eyes
in the tunnel were because "I had my hands around his throat telling him he
better not drop that first pass." He discussed that the following plays were
where Philip made the right checkoffs "like he has for four
Talked then turned to Rivers, and as always Coach's love for the
Senior QB was evident. Haynes jokingly asked if Philip had to run any gassers
since he did have some incompletions. "Oh, yeah, 4 of ‘em for all 4
incompletions. Cause I told him, if you want to win the Heisman, you've got to
be perfect!" He later related (and seemed perfectly serious) that the AFCA is
seriously considering allowing 5 years to play all 5 years – so kids that come
in for an injured player the last game and get like 25 snaps don't burn an
entire year of eligibility." Then, in typical Amato fashion, he let on that he
had even told Philip he was pushing to make it retroactive. Rivers said OK, so
long as he didn't have to go through spring practice, and Amato agreed, adding
"You don't even have to go through 2-a-days!"
Somebody in the crowd then
talked about how they were a 49'ers fan, and had been to 3 Super Bowls and
Rivers was as good (or poised?) as any of the Niner greats. Apparently, his
comment, or question if there ever was one, included a reference to the Ole Miss
QB. Amato replied "what's his last name? Manning? Well, Philip's the son of a
coach, but I guess he doesn't have the name of a one-time great QB, so he's at a
disadvantage there. But I tell you what, I wouldn't trade him for another one
out there…'cause we can't do that." (possible subtle dig at someone in C-H? I
Someone asked about Jay Davis, and Amato said he wanted to
only play him the first half, but then he remembered "year-end" stuff
(presumably the Heisman, and I imagine his mindframe at halftime, too!) and let
him go another series. He really hopes to get Jay in "a bunch of games and real
time. We don't just want him handing off and when he passes, running for his
life back there."
Someone asked about the freshmen. While Amato rattled
off nearly every name of young men who played, and gave the obligatory "Mario
will be big time", he also hit on McCargo, Tulloch (a faster and better Thunder
Dan), Maurice Charles (like S. Price, he would have started if he came in the
spring), and noted Tank Tyler had dropped from 315 to 282 – "cause I like ‘em to
be able to move." Someone later asked about Rumph, and Chuck said his leg injury
is coming along, but more importantly he's up to 235 lbs. – "he's a linebacker
now" (With a gleam in his eye).
Chuck also talked about Brian Clark's
progress. How he has the size and speed of Jerricho Cotchery. Said Clark
emulates J-Co, the same way the QB's watch Rivers, and the same way "T.A.
Someone asked about Wake Forest's "questionable
tactics." Amato quickly replied that during the game, everybody does things
they're not allowed to do "including the head coaches" laughing at himself. But
then he got serious and said, "It's fine. I'm not going to tell our men to watch
out for it, because it's legal, and when you talk about it, you're talking about
an excuse. And when you try to blame someone with an excuse, there's one finger
pointing at them and two back at you."
Chuck talked about the difficulty
of preparing for an offense like Wake Forest's – part wishbone, part option
without actually optioning. Said Wake outscored their opponents by "like 50
points in the first quarter all last year", a testament to the adjustments
needed to stop them. Said the scout team would be critical this week, and he
wouldn't hesitate to take somebody –watching out for injury of course – from the
two deep if they were the best athletes to act like WFU.
about Richard Washington – not challenging Chuck to reveal anything – and
whether we would see him make an impact like Tramain did in Week One. Amato
replied that yes, "he can do a lot of things like Tramain, particularly if he
runs in the right direction". Apparently, one of the problems is that sometimes
RW goes backwards 30 yards to pick up 5 yards. Obviously, Chuck didn't admit
that we'd be going to RW on the first series like we did Tramain.
also mentioned how nice the Walk of Champions was, how great it was to see the
stadium packed on a holiday weekend, how "you wouldn't catch me going in those
green things" (meaning the temporary bleachers", how much red was there, and we
can create an atmosphere like "where I came from". And "We need to get that end
zone finished by next year!"
The program ended by somebody asking Chuck
about the hit on Dexter Reid. After a loud laugh from the huge crowd, Chuck
slyly answered "Who does he play for?," and then commented that he had seen the
play on "SportsCenter" and "I already told ‘em if anybody does that to our team,
DON'T show it again on the replay screen (jumbotron)."
And so, the first
Coaches Corner of the year, highlighted by Coach Amato's trademark wit and
style, came to an end.
9/2/03: Coaches Corner Recap with Chuck Amato
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